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Alliance Française of Providence Endowment Fund
By Jean Cohoon / July 20, 2016 /   Loading Disqus...
“The Alliance Française of Providence has been a beacon of French culture, language, and ‘art de vivre’ in Rhode Island for more than 115 years, building strong ties of friendship and fostering shared values, love of the arts, and the poetic beauty of a language and its message,” explains Dominique Gregoire, the organization’s executive director.

The Alliance Française of Providence, located in Providence’s Elmhurst neighborhood, is one of more than 1,000 organizations with similar missions worldwide and the third oldest in the United States.

With a network of 2,500 members, friends, and partners, the Alliance Française of Providence hosts cultural and social programs that range from concerts to cooking classes, from theater productions to a choral group, and more. Every year, in partnership with the American Association of Teachers of French, the French American School, and the Museum of Work and Culture, the organization sponsors a statewide celebration of the French speaking world.

The Alliance Française of Providence also brings to Rhode Island an educational institution, the Language Center, through which more than 300 students annually learn French, Italian, Spanish, and Arabic from 12 native speaking professionals. Classes and tutoring are available for adults, teens, and children at all levels of fluency. Through partnerships with schools, both locally and in Massachusetts, the Alliance Française of Providence offers after school language classes and tutoring; it also provides on-site corporate language classes.

A bequest from Edith Erlenmeyer, a past president of the Alliance Française of Providence and a longtime French teacher at Wheeler School in Providence, allowed the organization to purchase its current building and provided funding for this endowment. Her 2006 Providence Journal obituary states, “Miss Erlenmeyer was decorated by the French government for her efforts in preserving the French culture in the United States.”

Her preservation efforts are furthered through this endowment. Dominique notes, “It is of great cultural importance that the French language and its universal message be continually transmitted to the people of Rhode Island and their children for generations to come. This endowment will help preserve the legacy of our institution.”
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